I just spent a week with my wife and kid in a small town in the California desert. We rented a lakefront house, spent hours in the pool, playing games, just being.

When you spend that much time with your kid, you get to experience the little battles she has to fight, and challenges she has to overcome when she’s out of sight at school. Her quest to fit in, to be part of the team, you experience her self-doubts, her triumphs, and you get to see how hard it can be to be a 6-year old.

That week gave me time to reflect what I want for my kid. My usual answer is:

I want her to be happy.

Oh, okay. Who doesn’t want that? It’s not an answer, it’s a lame excuse. When we say we want our kids to be happy, we want them to absorb as many of our values and act the way we want them to act.

Let’s be honest here: It doesn’t mean she HAS to go to college, it doesn’t mean she HAS to work long hours to make it in this world like her parents, it doesn’t mean she HAS to have a lot of money.

It does mean that I want her to do good things in the world that make her happy and the world a better place.

Yeah, I know. Still pretty lame.

So, I gave it a little more thought over the last few days and came up with 8 things I want her to become. And, please note, this is not a to-do list, just something I harbor in my heart.

I’ll hug her, no matter what.

a) Curious

I have problems with people who aren’t curious about everything. Why are we here? Why do people behave differently when they have a lot of choices compared to a small amount of choices? Why is the ocean blue and green? If you’re not curious, you will not succeed. Period. You will be stuck in a rut that will get thicker and harder to get out of.

b) Empathetic

Listen, I’m no Mother Theresa. As anybody else, I have my bouts of narcissism and self-absorption. But I know that the world can be a cruel place. I know friends who can have a conversation with a homeless person and hug them when they part ways. Or friends who dedicate hours to help other people. I don’t have that in me. And I don’t expect my kid to become Mother Theresa. But the least I expect is a consideration of the issues in the lives of other people. Understanding where they come from and help them to change.

c) Don’t be stupid

Sounds like an easy one, but it’s not. When educated people suddenly claim we should default on our debt, give people choices when it comes to evolution or just defy any scientific research, I get angry. We can have discussions about everything but we can’t have discussions about stupid things.

d) Push your body to the limits

I’m not asking her to win a gold medal at the Olympics. But I’m asking my kid to push her body to the limit. We learn a lot about ourselves at the edges. I learned a lot about myself training for and running marathons. Playing 4 soccer games in a day. Jumping from 60 feet boards. We need to nurture our brains. But we need to push our physicality to the brink. You can’t live through your brain. You have to push brain, body and mind.

e) Love without abandon

I want her to experience the crazy, amazing love. The love that makes you sleepless for days. I want her to experience the insane extremes. And then stay with the one love that makes her happy.

f) Change the world

Ok, that’s a big one. I’m not asking her to eliminate poverty. I ask her to leave this world a better place. Make an impact. Make a change. Burning Man is a great example of that: You leave no physical trace behind while you’re there but you leave an emotional trace within you.

g) Stop bitching. Start changing.

It’s easy to complain about things. Bright minds tend to do that. It’s hard to change things. Focus on the hard part. And tend to the easy parts when you have time.

h) Your mom and dad are always there for you. And we’re not the parents you want us to be.

Who knows what will happen in the years to come. One thing I know for sure: We will always love you. No matter what. And we will always try to help you become the person you could be.

You won’t like it. You will fight us. We will be there.

And we always have a hug waiting for you?

What do you want for your kid(s)?